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Article Directories and SEO
Dan01




msg:4297281
 1:26 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

On another thread HuskyPup wrote:

Am I the only person in the world never to have heard of ehow before Panda?


It is funny how that works. I was going to post this on the Panda thread, but it I went off topic and wrote way more than I expected. LOL So here it is:

Over the years my wife and I have had to continually re-invent ourselves. In fact, I haven't worked for anyone in over 25 years. Way before the Internet went public.

A couple years ago, in a crisis in this business, we investigated other opportunities. At that time, we investigated e-how, HubPages, Examiner, and many more sites. I am not sure any of them will survive or have a sufficient business model, but they can be used for SEO and to make money.

We signed up with all of them. I even went through a background check to become an Examiner.

Not all of those websites are the same. The Examiner and Associated Content, IMO, are still in very good positions. My wife receives money from e-How occasionally.

A year ago or so they made changes, and not everyone can write for eHow. They probably saw the Panda writing on the wall. They became very discriminating.

Associated Content is kinda discriminating. Anyone can write for them though (at least that is the way it used to be).

HubPages is pretty cool. You can place your Adsense on your article. Your ads show up every other time. Their ads show up the other time.

Other Article Directories:

One of the best "quality" article directories is e-zine. They are very discriminating and it takes longer to get your article published. They don't work on the weekends or nights. One time I wrote an article and they didn't publish it until I made some changes. They are the most picky of the article directories.

Articlesbase, a huge but newer site, takes every piece of junk out there. I have seen people put copyrighted material up there. No problem. I wondered how they got away with that. Maybe it is because they are based in Israel and it is harder to sue them? I don't know.

The bottom line: Most of these sites were used for SEO. You publish an article on them and get a link back to your page.

Gather is another one. Last year we made several hundred dollars (not much, but considering the effort) with Gather. They are like a social networking site. They will pay you a little for posting something, posting on someone else's post, and doing all sorts of stuff on their website.

 

tedster




msg:4297294
 2:06 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

they can be used for SEO and to make money

And any site that is about SEO first and valuable content only as a means to an end will be under the gun with Google, as I see it. They have been played by various schemes for several years, and then they were publicly embarrassed in the press for it. Even without the press coverage, this kind of thing threatens their core.

TheMadScientist




msg:4297302
 2:15 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

...valuable content only as a means to an end will be under the gun with Google...

Especially when the 'end' is an ad click or display as it seems in many cases.

Dan01




msg:4297311
 2:33 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

And any site that is about SEO first and valuable content only as a means to an end will be under the gun with Google, as I see it.


I think you are right. I think Examiner and eHow have a different model though.

Also, it is better to concentrate on good quality content and try to garner genuine natural links.

In another thread they were talking about getting delisted by Google because of suspicion of un-natural links. I have seen people put 1000s of article up with links pointing to their site. I was wondering how long it would take before Google plugs that hole.

dickbaker




msg:4297313
 2:33 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I did the same with article sites, but only for getting links. I'd completely re-write articles I wrote for my own site and submit them to e-zine and a couple of others.

I can't say that the strategy worked as planned, as many sites that republished my articles either didn't use anchor tags for my links or didn't include links at all. I finally gave up on using articles.

Nevertheless, I wonder how much the articles that are out there with links hurt a site?

Dan01




msg:4297316
 2:36 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Especially when the 'end' is an ad click or display as it seems in many cases.


Why would that be? You think that commerce sites get a break?

The first time I heard about a company getting slammed was JCPenny. I think there were some other retailers getting hit because of tons of un-natural links.

TheMadScientist




msg:4297322
 2:40 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Why would that be?

Because imo when Google sends a visitor to the answer without another click in between they are a better search engine in the view of the end user ... IOW Is Google a better search engine when a visitor has to click on ehow, then an ad or if they just send the visitor to the end result of the ad click? I think they're a better search engine in the view of the end user if they send them directly to the end result of the ad click, rather than the site with the ads on it so they can click from there.

Dan01




msg:4297323
 2:44 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I did the same with article sites, but only for getting links. I'd completely re-write articles I wrote for my own site and submit them to e-zine and a couple of others.


I did too, but I only put a maximum of two articles on about six sites total. Not a strong SEO effort. LOL But with Panda I am thankful I didn't pursue it.

I can't say that the strategy worked as planned, as many sites that republished my articles either didn't use anchor tags for my links or didn't include links at all. I finally gave up on using articles.


I too gave up on it. I don't even post on Gather which actually paid me to read their stuff.

But I did have some success on one article I did it on. In fact, it is still ranking even after Panda. I only put a few inbound links.

Nevertheless, I wonder how much the articles that are out there with links hurt a site?


Yes, if it can hurt a site, then why not put a ton of junk articles up pointing to your competitor. :)

There are programs you can buy (or maybe free now), that can turn one article into hundreds and broadcast the spam across the Internet. Talk about trashing up the Internet...

Gather has an interesting model though. They are trying to make a social networking site that actually pays you to use it. I like the idea, considering Facebook never paid me a dime. LOL

Dan01




msg:4297326
 2:49 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Because imo when Google sends a visitor to the answer without another click in between they are a better search engine in the view of the end user ... IOW Is Google a better search engine when a visitor has to click on ehow, then an ad or if they just send the visitor to the end result of the ad click? I think they're a better search engine in the view of the end user if they send them directly to the end result of the ad click, rather than the site with the ads on it so they can click from there.


Interesting. I would think they would want to do that with people looking to buy something too.

I'll have to think about that MS.

A little off topic - Google is trying to keep people on their site. Remember Pricewatch? Now Google has their own shopping search.

Planet13




msg:4297339
 3:29 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, if it can hurt a site, then why not put a ton of junk articles up pointing to your competitor. :)


I'm only watching a couple of very narrowly focused verticals, but I can tell you from what I have observed since panda is that the top sites have NOT been hurt by having bunches of article directories / paid directory / reciprocal links pointing to them.

The top site for one somewhat competitive keyword phrase has, as far as I can tell, a total of 2 "natural" links. Yes, just 2.

The other 4,500 inbound links they have are from free for all directories, or other sites they own, or paid directories, or paid advertisements that have straight href links (not redirected through javascript).

Their content is decent - not bad, just not great. But it is somehwat duplicated on their other sites.

semseoanalyst




msg:4297343
 3:54 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I can tell, a total of 2 "natural" links. Yes, just 2

How could you measure remaining links are unnatural?Maybe Google is thinking no. of natural links are 2>..and free directory links counted as natural links(its a fact few directories start paid submission when they get PR and traffic,but at the beginning they receive free submissions to make it popular)

crobb305




msg:4297353
 4:21 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I knew about E-How, but I don't remember a time when E-How had followable links of SEO value. As long as I can remember (which isn't very long -- I don't know what day it is half the time lol), they have had nofollow on reference links. So, I never gave them a second though. However, I do occasional snippet searches (for my content) or random searches for my company name, and E-How always shows up more and more. Portions of my content are ALWAYS getting used in numerous E-How articles, and they list my site in their References with a big NOFOLLOW on the link. RUDE.

In my opinion, if your content is good enough to be duplicated, it's good enough for Google to count the duplicate as a link...it should be a quality signal for YOUR site (particularly if your site is listed as a reference, irrespective of a "nofollow").

Examiner also adds nofollow on links AFAIK.

Back to E-How, and a a discovery I made yesterday...E-How is now allowing links to .gov sites in their Reference lists to be followed. You can check this by looking at some of the E-How Money pages about taxes (since they link to government documents, etc). The other sites they took information from (like mine) still get no link juice. The change is new. I have a feeling if we start to see E-How drop a bit in ranking, it could be due to this link change, allowing some of their PageRank to flow away from the site. We'll see...

And for what it's worth, I always liked Buzzle. I was surprised to see them on the Sistrix list from Panda 1. They have a fairly strict editorial process.

koan




msg:4297360
 4:48 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

E-How is now allowing links to .gov sites in their Reference lists to be followed.


They probably only do it because they think those safe links would actually help their SEO.

Dan01




msg:4297365
 4:53 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have never heard of Buzzle Crobb.

You are probably right about eHow and nofollow. I am not sure if my wife linked to our site, but like I mentioned, they do pay people.

I never linked the examiner to my site, so that one doesn't matter. I signed up for the examiner just in case the poo hits the fan with my website and I had to do something. I write for them occasionally. I haven't written enough to be paid from them yet, but there is an opportunity.

Years ago I was talking to my wife about paying people to write for our site, similar to what they do with Associated Content etc. But she got ticked off because she knew I would put the accounting responsibility on her. LOL Also, she had employees in a previous business and swore never to hire anyone again.

I even started my own content farm. LOL It took me a while to figure out how to add some code, but after I figured it out, I made one.

The posters were all different. I found some people would use those spam machines to link hundreds and even thousands of articles to their website. Others would use it to post their infrequent press release. Others would use it for a little SEO, maybe one or two articles.

I stopped it because it started taking up too much of my time. I never placed Adsense on it. I used the lower ranked advertisers (Adbrite etc). I kept the articles up there, but stopped accepting submissions. Plus, there is the liability. Forgetaboutit.

[edited by: Dan01 at 4:59 am (utc) on Apr 14, 2011]

Dan01




msg:4297367
 4:55 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

They probably only do it because they think those safe links would actually help their SEO.


I don't mind linking to gov too.

In fact, if I ever wrote an article on an article directory, I would include links to government sites too. Sometimes I would link to several sites that rank higher than me.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4297428
 8:04 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

If the goal of a site is to make eyeballs meet advertisements with everything else being an afterthought... good luck to you.

Being lazy is hard work these days.

Dan01




msg:4297431
 8:16 am on Apr 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

If the goal of a site is to make eyeballs meet advertisements with everything else being an afterthought... good luck to you.


That sounds like Google, Bing, Facebook, NY Times, ABC, CBS etc.

I spent nearly 20 years running a sales business. We actually sold stuff. Personally, I like publishing better. I have done that for seven years.

potentialgeek




msg:4298799
 7:09 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't think article marketing will work in the future as it has in the past. Anything that was working in 2010 needs to be reconsidered.

The only articles for other sites that could have value are on non-article sites. So write an article, just ask ONE webmaster whose site is relevant to yours to publish it (with the links). That would be my advice - or just put the article on your own site.

I've stopped writing articles for article sites. Too risky - even if they are 100% original content.

Dan01




msg:4298802
 7:29 am on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

I don't think article marketing will work in the future as it has in the past.


I agree with that 100%. Plus, the article sites have lost prestige with Panda, it seems.

About three years ago I tried marketing one of my webpages (not websites) using several of the article directories. It worked. I got some link juice and the pages moved up the SERPS (and are still there even after Panda).

A year ago January I started looking into e-How and a few other sites that pay you directly. At that time I wasn't looking for link-juice, but just to see if it was possible to make any money with their programs.

potentialgeek




msg:4298878
 12:10 pm on Apr 16, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is anyone seeing links from article sites devalued?

Article sites are de facto content farms, which have been in Google's crosshairs lately. Some of them have been hit by Panda and lost tons of traffic.

I've looked for articles I submitted to Ezine Articles, which many webmasters used to say was the best article site (and much better than its closest rival), and can no longer find them in Google SERPs. (I had steady top 10 positions for months last year.)

In another thread here started by pontifex, if memory serves, different webmasters said they'd noticed Panda has devalued anchor text in internal links.

Until recently I had #1 SERPs for several phrases which had many, naturally added (maybe once/day) internal links with the exact matching anchor text.

So I'm wondering if there has been a devaluation of both internal links within sites and external links from other sites such as article sites.

Possible developments:

1) Articles in article sites have been devalued in SERPs but links from them have the same value

2) Articles in article sites have been devalued in SERPs but links from them have less value

3) Articles in article sites have been devalued in SERPs but links from them have no value

Any thoughts on what's happened on your own sites?

Related tedster Quote (from another thread):

The site-wide demotion seems to flow backwards through the site's internal linking. This I'm still not totally certain of, but there does seem to be a pattern that says "the negative site-wide factor is strongest for pages that are just one click away from the really bad page and not as strong for pages that are more distant."


What do we call this? Generic and Relative Devaluation? Proximity Penalty?

Hasn't Google previously penalized sites which linked to "bad neighborhoods" (other sites)? Does it now apply the same principle to individual sites? Like when you link to a bad "neighborhood" (section) of your own site?

potentialgeek




msg:4299381
 1:12 pm on Apr 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have one site with inbound links only from Ezine Articles (and possibly a few other sites which used the same content) for a three-word phrase. (This is a hobby site, by the way.) Maybe three articles, so three links.

I was #8-#10 in rankings for that phrase; I just looked and now it's #44.

Planet13




msg:4299463
 5:35 pm on Apr 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am no expert in this, but...

1: What do you need?
2: whose got what you need?
3: what do they need?

You need links from virgin territory - not sites filled with other articles.

Small mom and pop sites that don't have the resources to develop content.

They need your expertise in terms of articles.

Jane_Doe




msg:4299523
 9:02 pm on Apr 17, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, I agree that article directories are devalues. Matt Cutts said as much but I didn't see it in the serps until Panda part II.

You need links from virgin territory - not sites filled with other articles.


Yes, it doesn't have to be articles but unique back link patterns never hurt.

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